Friday, February 03, 2006

The Cult of Inaccuracy

You've seen it: A boy, sometimes a girl, but mostly a boy, walking down the street. His baseball cap is on sideways, he is wearing an untucked oversize t-shirt (usually with a grimacing Mac Dre on the front of it) that reaches down to mid-thigh. Then you notice something way out of whack. Even with the enormously oversized t-shirt, you can still see this kid's back pockets. They seem to be almost even with his knees. All this is finished off with a pair of $200 basketball shoes, usually unlaced. Unfortunately, this has been the style of dress of a good number of our youth since about 1995. I thought it would go away quite a while ago, and it pains me to say that it hasn't.

Author, Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, has a name for this manner of dress, and the usually slovenly manners, speech, and academic performance that often accompany it: the cult of inaccuracy.
According to Dr. Blumenfeld, the refusal of our youth to do anything accurately can be tied to the current faddish teaching strategies in our nation's schools. If kids aren't expected to read, write, spell, or speak accurately, then why should they dress accurately?

As a teacher, sagging pants is probably my biggest pet peeve - that and the gold teeth, called "grills", that I see more and more black boys sporting. I have yet to see a boy of any other race but black wear these grills. When that changes, I will be the first to let you know. I think what bothers me the most about these sagging pants is where the style comes from: prison. These boys are emulating and romanticizing a style popularized by the scum of our society. That's not exactly the role model you want your kids looking up to now is it? What further bothers me is the fact that I don't really want to see these boys' underwear as they clumsily walk to class, holding their books with one hand, and their pants with the other as they try to keep their pants from falling down as they walk. Would you really want to spend your life with your pants in a constant state of nearly dropping to the floor? I understand cops want this style of dress to remain popular with perpetrators, as you may be able to walk in sagging pants, but just try running in them!

I know it is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket, but I will continue to tell students on campus to pull their pants up. It is a violation of our school dress code, and even if most of the other teachers have given up, I won't. Some might look at this as being petty and a waste of time on my part, but hey, we all have our hobbies; this is one of mine.

Good Day to You, Sir (and please pull up your pants)


Anonymous said...

This style of dressing has always bothered me. And is it just me or do the pants only seemed to be getting baggier and baggier as the years go by? Many times I have wanted to walk up to one of these "stylish" young me and lift up their shirt just to see how the pants are staying up. Do they secretly wear suspenders under their shirts to accomplish this??

Recently, I went roller skating and I was amazed to see a few boys skating in this attire. All I could think was "how the hell are those pants still up?” I kept watching almost in hopes that they would fall. It was like being at a pool and seeing that one girl who you just know is going to fall out of the top of her suit; you just don't want to miss it when it happens.


Miroslav said...

I know a Mexican high schooler who sports a "grill".


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